Very few golfers have played such a global variety of golf courses as Gary Player—the nine-time major champion shares his answers here in “My Courses”
MY FAVORITE COURSE: If you were asked to choose your favorite rugby player and your child happened to be a star, you would have to pick him, right? So, I’ll say The Links at Fancourt in George, South Africa, which hosted The Presidents Cup in 2003.
FIRST COURSE I EVER PLAYED: Virginia Park outside of Johannesburg, a course that was owned by the mining company my father worked for. I parred my first three holes and immediately became hooked on golf.
THE COURSE I’VE PLAYED MOST RECENTLY: Goose Valley in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. Our family has a beach house there and I play early almost every day before most are even awake.
THE COURSE I’VE PLAYED MOST OFTEN: When I’m in the U.S., The Bear’s Club. Jack Nicklaus and I have played a lot of golf there together lately. And Goose Valley when I’m on vacation in South Africa.
THE COURSE THAT PRODUCED MY SWEETEST MEMORY: Muirfield in Scotland, where I won my first major, the Open Championship, at age 23. How was that 60 years ago? Vivienne and I basically had no money at that point, so it may have been my most important win, too!
BEST COURSE I’VE EVER PLAYED: I’m not sure that’s a fair question because what is “best?” I love so many courses of all different styles and am a big fan right now of Turnberry in Scotland after the recent renovations. I love Pine Valley and Cypress Point, too.
HARDEST COURSE I’VE EVER PLAYED: Carnoustie in Scotland when the wind blows and it’s raining cats and dogs.
COURSE NOT IN THE WORLD TOP 100 THAT SHOULD BE: Thracian Cliffs in Bulgaria [a Gary Player design] should be considered among the best courses in the world. The ocean views are simply extraordinary and the Black Sea as the backdrop to every hole is breathtaking.
THE #1 COURSE ON MY BUCKET LIST: Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania jumps to my mind first. Australia is one of my all-time favorite places and I long to return. The Sandbelt courses are the world’s most underrated.
THE COURSE I’D PLAY IF I COULD PLAY ONLY ONE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE: Blair Atholl because it’s in South Africa and was previously our family home. That’s golf at its most pure. Many memories there, the cushions of life.
THE COURSE I’D PLAY IF I HAD JUST ONE MORE ROUND: I’ve been asked this question countless times and the answer is always the same. No doubt I would go to St. Andrews, The Home of Golf, to play the Old Course one last time.